August is Back to School Month

August 18, 2021

School is a great training ground where our kids can learn life practices that will help them in relationships and work.  Things like working hard, being polite, showing up on time, getting a project done on schedule, and not giving up are all character traits that your children are capable of but-that-need to be fostered. First and foremost, you must model these important skills for your children and then give them encouragement and praise when you see them doing them as well. 

The 21-22 school year is beginning. This can be a time of anxiety and fear for many. Starting a new grade or at a new school brings many uncertainties. Uncertainty is a part of life. Rather than fear new experiences, learn to manage your anxious thoughts.  Practice expressing your fears out loud or on paper. Journal, write letters, or share your feelings and frustrations with people you trust.  Find new and positive ways to look at the changes ahead. You will get through this and be a stronger, wiser person on the other side. 

Rather than fear new experiences, learn to manage your anxious thoughts. Focus on the things you have control over and let go of thinking about what you cannot control. Do you have an assignment for today? Get that done. Do you have a class meeting? Concentrate on that. When your mind starts to drift-to-future fears, bring it back to the present and what your tasks are for today. By doing this you’ll do better with the task at hand and be less anxious. 

New beginnings can raise our fear and anxiety because we are uncertain about the new situation.  Our natural reaction to uncertainty is to resist it. To get a handle on your worry, engage in activities that give you a sense of grounding and accomplishment. Try spending 30 minutes coloring using a mindfulness coloring book.  Try building a model or doing a puzzle. Bake and decorate a cake from scratch, or write some letters with paper and pen. You will get a mental break from your worries and be more centered and grounded. 

Another way to lower anxiety is to spend less time on social media. Multiple research studies show depression and anxiety increase related to the amount of time you spend on social media. Instead try reading a book or great story.  Do a creative project. Or play a board game. These activities will help ground you and get your thoughts away from the things that fuel our anxieties. 

Our natural reaction to uncertainty is to resist it. This leads to worry and anxiety.  The reality is the future is always uncertain. Rather than allowing your mind to focus on the future and things you cannot control. Take it one day at a time. Focus on making the decisions you need to make for today and leave tomorrow for the next day’s focus. Taking it one day at a time isn't just a cliché, it's a very powerful coping skill. 

-Jerry Strausbaugh, EdD, LPCCS, Executive Director

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